Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad
The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad was an American railroad that existed between 1880s and 1967, when it merged with the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, its longtime rival, to form the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad. The company was headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. After several more mergers and consolidations, the former ACL is now part of CSX Transportation (CSXT), also headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.
The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad was a product of numerous mergers of dozens of smaller lines in the last three decades of the nineteenth century. It began with the Wilmington & Raleigh Railroad (later renamed Wilmington & Weldon Railroad ), constructed between 1834 and 1840 in northeastern North Carolina. After the US Civil War, the railroad's owners acquired the Wilmington & Manchester Railroad which they quickly reorganized as the Wilmington, Columbia & Augusta. In 1871, they began using the name Atlantic Coast Line as a market name for the two lines.
Other lines in the Carolinas and Virginia were acquired over the next quarter century and various joint ownership and partnership agreements were established, some long-lasting and some not. A permanent connection to Augusta, Georgia had become a problem, however, and it was not until 1897, when the stock of the Charleston & Western Carolina Railway was purchased, that Augusta came securely into the fold.
In 1897-98, the various South Carolina lines (not including the C&WC) were consolidated into a new company, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company of South Carolina. On August 8, 1899, the ACL of SC acquired from the Central of Georgia its half-interest in the lease of the Georgia Railroad . This gave ACL connections to Atlanta and Macon.
Meanwhile, consolidation of ACL component railroad companies continued in North Carolina and Virginia. Although the owners had decided to bring all of their railroads into a single company, it was determined that a state-by-state approach to consolidation was necessary given the varying railroad regulations of each state. The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company of Virginia was established in early 1898 and the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company of North Carolina was given approval by the NC legislature the following year.
The most favorable regulatory climate was in Virginia, however, and ACL's owners chose that state as the base for the combined company. The consolidation was accomplished in early 1900 when the ACL of Virginia absorbed the other companies and dropped the Virginia part of its name to become the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company.
ACL acquired a half-interest in the lease of the Georgia Railroad in 1899.
ACL absorbed the Plant System Railroads in 1902 and gained control of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad the same year.
ACL built the Amsterdam-to-Otisca line (a 10-mile branch line in Decatur County, Georgia) in 1903. (Otisca was 2 miles south of Climax.)
ACL bought the Florida Central Railroad , a 47-mile line between Thomasville, Georgia and Fanlew, Florida in 1914.
In 1928, ACL built a line from Perry, Florida to Drifton, Florida , near Monticello, Florida, the last link of the new "Perry Cut-off." This created a more direct route between Chicago and Florida's west coast, one which passed through Macon, Georgia, Albany, Georgia, and Thomasville, Georgia and was the route followed by ACL's passenger train The Southland.
ACL gained control of the Atlanta, Birmingham & Coast Railroad in 1926. It was merged into ACL in 1946. The AB&C added over 600 miles of track to ACL’s system and gave it routes to Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama.
By 1948, ACL had over 12,000 miles of track. The ACL was famous for the passenger service between the northern cities and Florida. A large portion of produce shipped from the southern states to the northern markets traveled on ACL freight trains.
ACL merged with Seaboard Air Line Railroad in 1967 (nearly a decade after merger talks were announced) to form Seaboard Coast Line Railroad.Seaboard Coast Line Railroad (SCL). After several more mergers and consolidations, the former ACL is now part of CSX Transportation (CSXT), also headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.
- List of Atlantic Coast Line Railroad precursors
- Seaboard Air Line Railroad
- Seaboard Coast Line Railroad
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